Victorian tourist sites are now more accessible for travellers with sight loss

Famous tourist regions around Melbourne like the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and Lake Mountain, are now easily and regularly accessible for the blind and low vision community with the launch of Cocky Guides, a new multi-sensory tourism venture.

Cocky Guides have launched two tactile and sensory tours from Melbourne, allowing vision impaired travellers unique experiences and access to some of Victoria’s most visited regions. The popular supported day trips will initially showcase regional Victoria’s famous food & wine. During winter, a third day trip to Lake Mountain for snow play will be trialled.

“We’ve been running trips the past nine months and building our capability with blind and low vision community groups in Sydney. It’s now time to share our expertise with Melbournians.  Our collaborative approach to product development has resulted in a program of group adventures with local tour operator Autopia. We offer low cost group support for active community members to experience popular tourism destinations.” said founder of Cocky Guides, James McFarlane.

Gina, a recent traveller and low vision community member, loves the support Cocky Guides provide.

“Absolutely brilliant experience. I gained a lot of confidence with your support and as a group we all enjoyed it tremendously. We hope you will continue to provide this service as it’s so important for our community to be able to participate,” Gina said.

Vision Australia estimated there are nearly 100,000 Victorians who are blind or have low vision. The 2018 annual report from Guide Dogs Victoria estimated the number of Victorians living with low vision and blindness set to double by 2020.

“We are continuously creating unique and exciting products, so our collaboration with Cocky Guides, who offer support on tours for blind and low vision travellers, enable us to make our tours even more accessible. Cocky Guides have been providing support on selected trips to the Hunter Valley from Sydney and the feedback has been extremely positive” said General Manager of Autopia Tours, Kerry Tate.

Cocky Guides run regular tactile and sensory group adventures from Melbourne and Sydney. For more information phone 1300 657 640 or visit cockyguides.com.au

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